Tackling food poverty in Bedford Borough

January 7, 2021 8:00 AM
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough

No to hunger in Bedford BoroughBefore Christmas, Bedford Borough Council launched 'No To Hunger in Bedford Borough', a campaign to support access to food for those in need, so that every child in the borough will be well fed this winter.

As part of the package of support, the Council provided £203,890 worth of free school meals food vouchers to 6,264 eligible children and young people over Christmas and the New Year, and 80 slow cookers have been provided for local families with more to be sent out in the coming weeks.

The scheme will run at least until 31 March as the Council looks to address food inequality in the Borough.

As part of the Coronavirus response, the Council's Community Hub was very quickly in place, and early on was providing food parcels directly to those in need. Most people now have support in place but the Council, working with partners, is continuing support clinically extremely vulnerable residents who do not have family or friends to help. With a number of changes to national and local restrictions since March, staff have responded quickly to make sure the Hub has been back in place 'overnight' to support residents.

Councillor Michael Headley, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Welfare said, "This pandemic has had a huge impact on residents across Bedford Borough and the Council and partners have been working closely together to support residents through it. This winter is undoubtedly going to be a tough time for many, including those whose circumstances have changed, and may now require help for the first time, due to the pandemic. We do not want anyone to be concerned about how to feed their families. The No To Hunger in Bedford Borough scheme was launched in time for Christmas and we have been able to support many residents. If you think you may be eligible, do not hesitate to get in touch."

To find out if you are eligible and to register for free school meals visit: www.bedford.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals

During term time, free school meals will be managed by schools themselves, for information please contact your school direct.

More details, including advice if you need support, or how to support the campaign, are available at the partnership website: www.oneymca.org/notohungerinbedfordborough